Today is my little daugter’s birthday. Evanggelia (Elia) is turning 19 today.
I asked her a few days ago what kind of cake she would like for her birthday and she insisted that she wanted a plain sponge cake, with whipped cream and strawberries. «Are you sure», I told her «this is way too easy. No, chocolate on it?». Most of Elia’s Birthday cakes are with strawberries as they are now in season and she loves them.
I’ve made hundreds of cakes and even when I was single I did not make a cake as simple as the one she was asking me to make. I decided to use the ingredients she wanted but I started thinking what to do to make it a strawberry cake but to make it something special and although she said no chocolate, I am sure she will love it and if she doesn’t she can easily remove the chocolate.
The sponge cake is the usual sponge I make but this time I flavoured with vanilla and mastic. The sponges were prepared on Wednesday evening and put the cake together last evening, except for the decoration on top, which I finished this morning.
I made two sponges and cut each one in the middle to have four layers. I used the best bottom piece as the last layer. Don’t worry if the other pieces are not cut to perfection or if they break because this will not matter.
I prepared a strawberry sauce / coulis. I used to call it strawberry sauce but only recently realized that strawberry sauce and coulis is the same thing. Coulis is just a fancy name for the sauce. I used this coulis to wet the sponge cakes, to flavour the whipped cream and in the cream cheese filling.
For the filling, I didn’t like the idea of just adding whipped cream and as she love cream cheese, I mixed some cream cheese as well and made a kind of strawberry mousse but without the eggs.
I visualized the top decoration with chocolate cup cakes and fresh strawberries, so yesterday morning I melted couverture chocolate in a double boiler (I wish I had white chocolate at the time I decided to make it but it was 6 a.m.). It took almost 1 hour to make them. When the chocolate melted I added the butter but it turned very hard. A quick think and I decided to add vegetable oil. That didn’t work either. Finally I opened a heavy cream and poured just a few teaspoons each time and mixed it until I had the right consistency. Each time it started becoming hard, I just mixed in some heavy cream. I must have used about 3 tsps. I only wanted around nine mini cupcake liners but to be on the safe side, in case any one broke, I decided to make a few extra. While I was preparing them I thought of ways I could use the leftover chocolate. One way was to add milk and make choco milk for the children but they were asleep and I had to leave before they woke. Then I could add them in a big cupcake casing and refrigerate it to use it in another recipe, such as a ganache but finally there wasn’t too much left so I continued filling more mini cup cakes. What remained in the pot was a pity to go wasted so I heated a cup of milk in the microwave to save time and mixed it in the chocolate and I had a cup of chocolate milk for breakfast.
Chocolate Cupcakes & Strawberry Mousse Cake, Recipe by Ivy
Preparation time: 1/2 hours for the sponge cake
1 hour for the chocolate cup cakes
2 hours for putting the cake together
15 minutes for decoration
Cooking time: 1 hour for the sponge cake
½ an hour for strawberry sauce
Serves: about 12
For Sponge cake:
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup corn flour (starch)
2 vanilla sachets with Mastic
A pinch of salt
To wet the sponges:
½ cup strawberry syrup (from the strawberry sauce)
For Chocolate Cups:
15 mini paper baking cups
125 couverture chocolate
1 tsp margarine
1 tsp oil (I used vegetable)
250 ml heavy cream divided. A few tsps were used and remaining heavy cream was used to dissolve the gelatin.
For strawberry sauce/coulis:
800 grams fresh strawberries
1 ½ cups demerera sugar
½ cup water
1 shot dark rum
3 gelatin leaves
Leftover heavy cream
For filling and decoration:
500 ml heavy cream
1 tbsp icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla powder
About ¼ cup strawberry syrup (from sauce)
1 drop red food colour
300 grams Philadelphia cheese
Preparing the Sponge Cakes
Sift the flour and corn flour with baking powder and salt. Mix in vanilla and mastic powder.
Beat eggs and sugar for approximately 10 minutes till smooth and creamy.
Gently fold in the flour mixture using a spatula, so that the beaten air doesn’t escape.
Line with parchment paper two 28 cm spring form tins and divide the mixture.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180oC / 350oF for about 35 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Turn out onto racks to cool.
Preparing the Chocolate Cups
In a bain Marie (double boiler) add the chocolate with butter and oil and mix until the chocolate melts. Add some heavy cream and mix until its consistency becomes runny again. Take about 1/2 teaspoon chocolate and cover the sides and bottom of the mini cupcake liners. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Preparing the Strawberry Coulis
Wash and hull the strawberries and place in a non stick frying pan. Add the water, sugar, and rum and simmer for about thirty minutes, stirring from time to time until the syrup is thick. Set aside until it cools. Strain the strawberries and set aside ¼ of the coulis. Puree the remaining in a food processor.
Put the gelatin leaves in a bowl and cover with tap water for five minutes. Heat the heavy cream in a small pot until warm and add the gelatin leaves (without the water). Mix continuously on low heat until there are no traces of gelatin on the spoon. Set aside until it cools.
Filling the Chocolate Cups
When the heavy cream and gelatin has cooled add 2 – 3 tbsps in the reserved ¼ strawberries and mix. Set aside to almost set and unmold the chocolate cups. Fill the cups by 2/3 with the strawberry mixture and refrigerate.
Preparing the Filling and Frosting
Whip the heavy cream on high speed until peeks start forming. Add the icing sugar, vanilla, strawberry syrup and drop of food color and mix to combine. Remove half into a bowl, cover with cling film and refrigerate for decoration.
In the remaining whipped cream add the cream cheese, the pureed strawberries, any leftover syrup and the heavy cream with gelatin and mix on low speed and gradually increase to high speed until fluffy and smooth.
Putting the cake together
Cut each cake with a sharp long knife into two slices and wet each half with the strawberry syrup.
Put the first piece in the platter and put back the ring of the spring form. Add 1/3 of the cream cheese and continue with second and third sponges, adding the remaining cream. Cover with the last sponge cake and refrigerate for at least 2 – 3 hours or even better overnight.
Add some whipped cream in a piping bag and decorate the chocolate cup cakes.
Cover the top with the remaining whipped cream and decorate with the chocolate cupcakes and strawberries.
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!!
Other relevant Strawberry Cakes: